After suffering their first loss of the season to Mount Sinai back on April 8, the Eastport South Manor girls lacrosse team rebounded with consecutive victories to get back on track. The Lady Sharks defeated cross-town rival Westhampton Beach, 14-11, at home on April 14, then defeated Mattituck/Greenport/Southold, 12-7, again at home two days later.
Over the weekend, ESM traveled to Connecticut, where it scrimmaged Wilton and played a non-league game against New Canaan, one of the top-ranked teams in Connecticut. The Lady Sharks defeated New Canaan, 11-9. ESM is 6-1 in Division II play, 7-1 overall so far this season.
ESM head coach Becky Thorn likes where her team is at so far, but noted that the final four games on her team’s schedule will be tough. The Lady Sharks play at Shoreham/Wading River on April 29, at Huntington on May 1, host West Babylon on May 6 and then host Sayville in the regular-season finale on May 8 under the lights at 7:30 p.m. Huntington, as of Tuesday morning, is undefeated and was preranked as one of the top teams in Division II this season, while West Babylon has an All-American in Sam Apuzzo. The game against Sayville will be a rematch of last season’s county final, which Sayville won.
ESM needed one of its three eighth-graders, Kasey Choma, and her career-high six goals in the win over Mattituck last week. The Lady Sharks held a 7-2 lead at halftime, but Mattituck finished up strong and played to an even 5-5 second half. Choma has played herself into the starting lineup, and fellow eighth-graders Katherine Flaherty and Jaime Biskup have been providing some vital minutes for the Lady Sharks as well this season.
“They’ve definitely earned their playing time and their varsity jerseys, which is great,” Thorn said.
ESM had to pull out its victory over Westhampton Beach in the final nine minutes. The Lady Hurricanes were leading 11-10 but then Choma tied the game and sophomore Kelsey Huff gave the Lady Sharks the lead just a few minutes later. Two late yellow cards on Westhampton Beach put ESM a man up late in the game and it led to two more goals for the Lady Sharks.
Junior Kaeli Huff led ESM with five goals, three assists and five draw controls while her younger sister Kelsey, a sophomore, finished with three goals and six draw controls. Biskup, who entered the game late in the first half, finished with a hat trick.
Thorn, who is undefeated against Westhampton Beach in her five years at ESM, said the Lady Hurricanes always play her teams tough.
“They are always amped up to play us, even when, on paper, we should blow them out of the water,” she said. “But they seem to walk on our field expecting to win.
“I think we woke up a bit, offensively,” Thorn added. “We made some stops defensively. They came up with a turnover and our offense would finalize it.”
Westhampton Beach (3-2 Division II, 3-3 overall), had some solace in that it scored the most goals against ESM so far this season, which isn’t easy to do, especially on the Lady Sharks home field. Freshman Hailey Daleo scored three goals and had two assists while junior Caitlin Smith finished with a hat trick and an assist. Isabelle Smith, a seventh-grader, finished with two goals, and junior Bella Recchion and seniors Sarah Culver and Kathleen Mensch each scored a goal. Freshman Elle Kast made seven saves in goal.
Head coach Mary Bergmann wasn’t thrilled with the way her team played, especially down the stretch.
“When you are playing a strong team, it comes down to execution and unfortunately we didn’t do that when it came down to the wire,” she said. “Overall, it was a great game between two great teams. We need to work on fixing some little things, but we are confident, going into a string of tough games, that we can come out on top if we play together as a team and tighten up some of the mental mistakes.”
The Lady Canes followed up the loss to ESM with a 10-9 loss at home to Harborfields on Thursday, April 16. They led, 6-3, at halftime, but the Lady Tornadoes outscored Westhampton Beach, 7-3, in the second half to win the game. Angela Deren’s goal with 3:17 remaining in regulation broke the 9-9 tie for Harborfields.
Caitlin Smith scored another hat trick and had two assists, while Isabella Smith had a goal and three assists. McKayla Hofmann, a seventh-grader, scored two goals while Daleo, Recchion and Mensch each scored as well. Kast made 13 saves in goal.
Westhampton Beach played at Sayville on Tuesday and hosted Bayport/Blue Point on Wednesday. The Lady Canes will play at Rocky Point on Monday, April 27, at 4:30 p.m. and will host West Babylon on Wednesday, April 29, at 4 p.m.